At the beginning of last summer I was asked to translate for the Majella National Park. More specifically for some of their walking routes, which, if I'm being totally honest was right up my street. I excitedly sat down at my computer and ploughed my way through 22 pages of exciting mountain trails (ok so calling them exciting I am officially a walking geek - I accept that) taking note of the ones that I wanted to do as I went. Then summer and autumn somehow passed me by.
I chose a relatively easy route (N1 on the Majella National Park map) partly because I wanted to see if our boys would be up to it in the spring. We left from Pescocostanzo, on a mule track just past the former Rivisondoli-Pescocostanzo railway station which is the second highest in Italy, and headed over and round the mountains to Pietransieri.
It was more like a wet, windy day in Wales compared to the 21 degrees and sunshine we'd had the day before, as we trudged off through the mountain grazing pastures and up the slopes through the beech woods flanking the side of Monte Tocco (1691m). As we weaved our way through the woods, sometimes calf deep in snow, but too patchy for snow shoes due to the unseasonably warm weather we've been having, there was an eerie stillness, broken only by the beautiful sound of running water from the mountain streams. We came across recently made wolf foot prints in the snow, but sadly no wolves, and deer foot prints, the prey it was following.
As we popped out into a clearing we came across a fountain and knew that just round the corner, according to the translation (!), we would come to the Omonimo Mountain Refuge, and there it was, just where we had expected it to be. After a brief stop we carried on the path and finally dropping back down into Pietransieri in time for a cappuccino before lunch...yes my Italian friends, I did just say before lunch...and a taste of the local cake made from nuts and figs - it was delicious.